The Common Law of Felony Arson

Arson is the crime of intentionally and maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires. Arson frequently describes fires deliberately set to collect insurance compensation. Criminal defense attorney Mary Masi has handled felony arson matters in the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Common Law Elements of Arson

The general elements of the crime of arson are:

  • The malicious
  • burning
  • of the dwelling or structure
  • of another


For common law arson, "malicious' means action creating a great risk of a burning. It is not required that the defendant acted intentionally or willfully for the purpose of burning a dwelling.


Burning includes charring to any part of dwelling. No significant amount of damage to the dwelling is required. Mere discoloration from smoke is not insufficient.

Please feel free to contact felony criminal lawyer Mary Masi, in Los Angeles for free initial consultation.

A highly respected criminal attorney serving predominantly Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, San Bernadino County, CCB, down town Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Van Nuys, LAX Airport, Torrance, Long Beach, Compton, East L.A., Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Santa Clarita, San Fernando, Calabassas, Agoura, Altadena, Alhambra, Bellflower, Century City, Chatsworth, Culver City, Diamond Bar, Downey, Downtown Criminal Court, East Los Angeles, Encino, El Monte, Glendora, Hermosa Beach, Hidden Hills, Hollywood, Huntington Park, Inglewood, Los Padrinos, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marina Del Rey, Newhall, Norwalk, Palos Verdes, Pasadena, Pomona, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, San Dimas, San Fernando, San Marino, San Pedro, Santa Monica, Airport Court, Santa Clarita, Sherman Oaks, Sierra Madre, Santa Monica, South Gate, South Pasadena, Sylmar, Universal City, Valencia, West Covina, Walnut, Westchester, West Hollywood, Westlake Village, Whittier, Woodland Hills, Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, La Palma, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Westminster, Yorba Linda, Camarillo, Moorpark, Oxnard, San Buenaventura, Simi Valley,Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland. Felony Arson.

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